First coaches qualify on new look level 1 award

19th July 2018

First coaches qualify on new look level 1 award

Since launching earlier in 2018, the revamped initial qualification for anyone looking to get into coaching volleyball has got off to a flying start, with some of the first courses to run being hosted at Newcastle College in April.

We caught up with Mark Steutel, Programme Leader at Newcastle College, and Paul Whitefield, a student at the college, to find out about their experiences of the new Volleyball England Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Volleyball Award.

“100% no brainer” was the reply when Paul Whitefield, second-year sports coaching and development student at Newcastle College, was asked if he would recommend the course to other people who wanted to get into coaching volleyball. “I had a really good time throughout the course. It was all so good, there was so much activity from start to finish.”

Paul is one of twenty students and staff at Newcastle College who recently passed the new Volleyball England Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Volleyball Award, marking them part of a special maiden cohort of new Level 1 qualified coaches.

A product of listening to feedback from the volleyball community, the new look Level 1 coaching course is aimed at training assistant coaches for 6 vs 6 volleyball. Marc Steutel, Programme Leader at Newcastle College and organiser of the courses, explained their motivations for choosing the Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Volleyball Award: “It was a sport that none of our current students or staff were qualified in and we have lots of coaching development students at the college, so lots are going on to become PE teachers. We wanted them to have opportunities to train in indoor sports that they can go onto deliver in their future careers.”

Embodying Volleyball England’s game-based approach, the course focuses on guiding coaches to develop players through session which replicate match conditions. Seeing the progress made by his students in delivering such sessions was Marc’s personal highlight of course, “in the assessed mini-sessions, it was good to see the students and staff who on day one were unsure when leading but who were able to deliver confidently by the end of the final day of the course. That was my highlight, to see the students and staff improve over the days.”

And this improvement was in no small part down to the tireless and relentless passion of the course tutor. “There was so much guided explanation from Bill (Boagey, the course tutor),” said Paul. “I got a lot of opportunities for guided discovery, Bill would say get into pairs to design a practice, which was really helpful for gaining confidence in coaching volleyball,” said Paul.

A key part of the Level 1’s game-based approach is the importance of encouraging player understanding through developing effective question strategies and by providing players with the opportunity to problem solve to develop self-awareness and understanding. The importance of questioning and problem solving is also central to tutoring the course and helping the learners to develop their own self-awareness and understanding as coaches.

Marc also added, “The feedback from students and staff about Bill was outstanding across the courses. It was delivered really well and we went through the supporting resources, which are now up around the college and point us in the direction of where to go next to improve.”

Alongside gaining access to The Art of Coaching Volleyball, a vast and valuable online coaching resource, learners on the course receive: game-based coaching cards outlining sample sessions on key aspects of the game, fact sheets on each module and a copy of the Volleyball Fundamentals Framework, which is a tool to help coaches observe and analyse players’ individual technical and tactical skills.

Echoing Paul’s opening sentiment, Marc added a wholesome recommendation both to individuals looking to take the course and clubs or institutions looking to host one, “do it – it’s inclusive, engaging and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Even setting the course up – I am spinning lots of plates as a Programme Lead at the college – but I 100% will try to deliver the same courses next year if the funding in the college is still available. There was lots of support from the national governing body in setting up the course.”

A new passion for volleyball

Before the two-day course, most of the students on the courses were new to volleyball or if they had come across the sport in the past, their contact with it was minimal,” continued Marc. This was very much the case for Paul who alongside his studies works as a football coach with both an under 14s team and a women’s side at Durham University but who in terms of volleyball only had a small taste of the sport in some PE lessons back in his schooldays.

So before attending the new Level 1 Award, Paul’s motivation for signing up to take the course was simple. “Once I have finished my education, I would like to go on to be a PE teacher,” he said. “I thought that taking the Level 1 volleyball coaching course would help with my future employability.”

But following the course, a new dimension has been added to Paul’s aspirations. “Next year I am now looking at becoming a mentor for volleyball at Newcastle College, who offer funding and support to set up clubs and sessions that help the college community. I want people to get more involved and to play volleyball more but before attending the course, I didn’t really even consider playing.”

“I want people to experience volleyball, I want people to know how fun volleyball is, I want to develop the participation numbers in the college - I think that people miss a trick with volleyball as everyone on the course had so much fun.”

Looking ahead, there is now potential for volleyball to feature on some of the BTEC courses offered at the college, such as an option in practical team sports modules, which would not have been a possibility before a member of staff attended the Level 1 course. Combined with a cohort of newly qualified students, who in the future could be the teachers introducing the next generation of players to the sport – the view looks bright and promising.

If you are interested in organising a coaching course at your institution or club, the best place to start is our how to organise a course webpage. Alternatively, if you are looking to book a place on an existing coaching course, then please have a look at all the currently available courses on our course finder.

Can’t find a course in your area? Please get in touch with us via coaching@volleyballengland.org with the course level you are interested in, where you are based and how far you are willing to travel and we will let you know once a suitable course is arranged in your area.

First coaches qualify on new look level 1 award